Inaugural conference for the business of civil engineering: CE News ‘live’ in L.A.

March 2009 » Feature Articles
The Civil Engineers’ Summit & Expo, presented by CE News, is a new conference created just for you, our readers. The program specifically addresses the needs of civil engineering firm leaders, especially in an economic slowdown with a stimulus package on the way. The presentations from your peers and other industry experts will help you react to what’s happening right now and prepare you for the future.
CE News Staff

The Civil Engineers’ Summit & Expo, presented by CE News, is a new conference created just for you, our readers. The program specifically addresses the needs of civil engineering firm leaders, especially in an economic slowdown with a stimulus package on the way. The presentations from your peers and other industry experts will help you react to what’s happening right now and prepare you for the future.

Well-known industry luminaries and firm leaders and executives of all size firms will convene in Los Angeles on April 21-22, 2009, at the Sheraton Universal Hotel. Keynotes, concurrent focus sessions, working group discussions, a luncheon, and a networking cocktail reception will provide ample opportunity for listening, learning, and asking questions of your fellow professionals in the civil engineering industry. Conference attendees participating in all sessions offered during the conference will be eligible for 10 credit hours.

A sampling of the program is presented here; learn more and register at www.cenewssummit.com.

Focus sessions
This year’s conference themes include the following: Rebuilding America’s Infrastructure, Exploring Market Trends and Opportunities, Strategic Business Planning in Challenging Times, and Making Technology Work for Your Firm. With concurrent focus sessions, attendees can craft their own agenda to best suit their needs. To help you get a feel for what is offered pertaining to each theme, a summary of what you’ll find in the full program brochure (go to www.cenewssummit.com) is presented here.


Rebuilding America’s Infrastructure—Jeff Kimball, president and CEO, L. Robert Kimball & Associates, will deliver a session called, "Economic Stimulus: What Does ’Shovel Ready’ Mean and What Opportunities Remain?" With the final American Recovery and Reinvestment Act expected to re-energize institutions, businesses, government agencies, and their workforce, this session will explore the details on how stimulus funds will be allocated nationally and locally, as well as discuss how engineering companies can assist their clients in securing project funding. In addition, the session will share insights into what companies can do to be more competitive when bidding for funding, and share tools and tactics to get projects shovel ready.

A panel discussion, "Rebuilding California’s Infrastructure: The Impacts for Civil Engineers," will be led by Theodore Levin, Esq., P.E., and Richard Capella, Esq., both of Morris Polich & Purdy LLP. Panelists Douglas Failing, District 7 director, California Dept. of Transportation; Nelson Hernandez, community development director, City of Ventura; Jacob Lipa, president, Psomas; and Paul Meyer, ACEC California executive director, will discuss the direct impact of the stimulus plan on California. The panelists will provide specific examples of current, planned, and proposed projects that will benefit from the plan, as well as its impact on the state’s engineering and construction industries.

Exploring Market Trends and Opportunities—Besides the keynote sessions and working group discussions pertinent to this theme, one standout is a panel discussion, "The Watershed Approach to Our Nations Water Resources: Water Planning at a Higher Level." The panel will outline the future of water as a precious resource and the opportunity to sustain the future through innovations in water and stormwater engineering and planning practices.

Additionally, "Financing and Delivering Transportation Infrastructure: One Size Does Not Fit All Projects," presented by Timothy Martin, P.E., national director, U.S. Highways and Bridge, AECOM Transportation, will draw on the presenter’s experience in both the public and private sectors to explore some of the larger issues and solutions in financing and delivering infrastructure projects.

Strategic Business Planning in Challenging Times—An expert-led panel discussion, "Diversification: Finding the Right Service Make-up for Your Firm," will showcase firm leaders with various service make ups who will discuss their firm portfolio and the choices they have made to enter new markets while scaling back in others. They will also explore the complex issues involved in finding the right service make up for their firms. David Evans, P.E., P.L.S., chairman, David Evans and Associates, Inc.; Thomas Gockowski, P.E., executive vice president, Carroll Engineering Corporation; and Eric Uitvlugt, P.S., CEO, exxel engineering inc., will participate.

John Doehring, principal and managing director, ZweigWhite, will present, "Gettin’ Up on the Downside: Business Planning for Success," a lively discussion about the strategies necessary to create or update your strategic business plan for today’s market.

For an inspirational introspection on how to retool your firm, join Ed Goodman, CEO, TST, Inc. Consulting Engineers, for "Reimagining Your Consulting Engineering Practice." He will introduce trends, business strategies, and ideas that can redefine our engineering consulting practices. This session will provide an open-minded look into tomorrow.

Making Technology Work for Your Firm—Three sessions stand out relating to this important theme, including the following: "Building Information Modeling Technology for Civil Engineering," led by Danny Counts, CEO, U.S. CAD, and Matthew Heideman, P.E., project manager, Psomas. They’ll explore some of your most pressing questions when it comes to BIM technology and share a case study of how one firm is realizing the benefits of using BIM.

Another topic of considerable interest among civil engineers is 3D laser scanning. Paul DiGiacobbe, P.E., senior technologist, HNTB Corporation, will demonstrate the advantages of this promising technology when applied to transportation infrastructure projects.

Additionally, to assist in the adoption and implementation of advanced civil engineering software, Mark Scacco, P.E., president, Engineered Efficiency, Inc., will present, "Protecting Your Investment: Top Five Hurdles to Technology Implementation," and share how your organization can avoid failure and reap the benefits that new technology has to offer.

Keynote sessions
From industry insiders to an award-winning journalist and author to a well-revered economist, the following keynote sessions for the conference will educate, enlighten, and entertain:

Weathering the Storm: Keys for Successful Growth in Uncertain Times
Gerry Salontai, CEO, Kleinfelder Group, Inc.
This keynote session will highlight where the bright spots in the economy may be for our industry, and present insight on how to traverse the sea of economic adversity and position your firm for continued growth.

Rebuilding America’s Infrastructure: State-of-the-Nation and Opportunities for Civil Engineers
Dan McNichol, journalist and best-selling author of The Big Dig, The Roads That Built America, and Asphalt in America
The United States is in the midst of an infrastructure crisis. In this session, McNichol will explore the current state of the nation’s infrastructure, review our greatest civil engineering projects, and discuss how we build today. He will speak specifically about the economic stimulus package, as well as ideas about the upcoming transportation reauthorization bill due in 2009.

Civil Engineering Industry Outlook and Market Forecast
Kenneth Simonson, chief economist, The Associated General Contractors of America
Will it be a stimulating year for civil engineers? Will economic stimulus legislation turn the tide? What else will change the outlook for civil engineering in the United States and worldwide? Simonson will answer these questions—and yours—in a lively, interactive keynote presentation.

U.S. Engineering Firms: Creating and Sustaining Competitive Advantage
Stephen Mayer, Ph.D., P.E., assistant professor, College of Business, Niagara University, and market development manager, Public Private Programs, Parsons Corporation
What do successful firms have in common? Can firms create and, more importantly, sustain competitive advantage? Mayer will discuss the findings from his applied doctoral research: Sources of Competitive Advantage in U.S. Engineering Firms. You’ll learn how your firm stacks up to others and what you can do to help further create and sustain a competitive advantage.

Working group discussions
Optional discussion groups are scheduled throughout the event. To facilitate interactive discussion, each group will have a limited number of participants. Pre-registration is required, but no additional fees apply; see www.cenewssummit.com for more details.

Doing More with Less: Strategies for Success for Small Firms
Thomas True, president, True Engineering, Inc.

Exploring the Impact of the Sustainability Movement on Individuals, Firms, and the Environment
Shanon Fauerbach, P.E., editorial director of CE News, Stagnito Media
(This working group discussion will be recorded, and the participants’ comments will be published in a CE News article.)

Now What? How Firms Are Responding to the Land Development Slowdown
Bob Drake, editor of CE News, Stagnito Media
(This working group discussion will be recorded, and the participants’ comments will be published in a CE News article.)

Strategies for Sustaining Growth in a Declining Market
Michael Sutton, P.E., president, Infrastructure Engineering, Inc.



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